Council grants road restriction powers for 13 towns to boost high streets
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Councils have been given powers to close key roads for up to 17 months in towns across Norfolk to help ailing businesses get back on their feet.
Restrictions could be introduced for roads in 13 towns across the county after being granted permission by Norfolk County Council, in order to aid social distancing, and give struggling businesses the chance to reopen safely.
One-way systems and parking restrictions could be put in place, with councils able to enforce changes between June 15 and December 5 next year.
Among the towns given the green light to make changes are Aylsham, Cromer, Downham Market, Holt, King’s Lynn and Mundesley.
However, in Watton, where some closures have already been trialled, traders reacted angrily, saying the scheme was “killing” the town.
Caroline Brown, owner of the Dutch Flower Parade on Watton’s high street, said: “Watton is already on its knees, with Lloyds bank closing, the fire and now closing these roads.
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“It’s hard to survive on the high street anyway and we have been given these wonderful grants to help us during the coronavirus – well they might as well not have bothered.
MORE: Traffic to be banned on city centre streets after three quarters back move to boost businesses“The biggest thing is the disabled parking spaces. Our clientele are older people so the convenience of parking outside is crucial and sometimes we are the only people they will see all day... If they want to kill Watton, they are going the right way about it.”
Okan Ucar and Ozzy Oscar run Atlantis Fish Bar, on Middle Street, and have said the road closure, by Breckland Council, “doesn’t make any sense” and does nothing to increase shoppers’ safety on the high street.
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Mr Ucar said: “Ninety-five per cent of our customers are older generations. They drive their cars to our door and park just outside because they can’t walk very far.
“All the customers are shocked and frustrated that they can’t get to us.”
Elsewhere, Sam Grout, owner of The Old Rock Bistro, on Hamilton Road, Cromer, said: “While there is certainly no right answer for all concerned, we support the fact that measures are being implemented for visitors to return to the town we all love, in as safer manner as possible.
“Come our reopening on July 4 it will enables customers to wait outside for tables in a safer manner than would otherwise have been possible, given limited pavement space.”
And Simon Broughall, who has been owner of the The Big Fry Fish and Chip shop on Market Place, Wymondham, for 30 years said South Norfolk Council had listened to traders’ concerns to change a trial pedestrianisation scheme to a one way system to improve footfall.
He said: “Any traffic disruption into the town centre has always had a massive impact on footfall, be it road works, be it an accident. Whatever reason, people do not bother coming into town and we need to make it easier to access by car.”
MORE: Call to close Norwich streets to help cyclists and pedestrians get to work amid coronavirusA spokesperson from Norfolk County Council said: “The emergency traffic management measures related to Covid-19 are being delivered by the county council on behalf of district, borough and city councils.
“Many of the temporary changes were swiftly put in place to help businesses to reopen safely from June 15, with the rest of the changes set to be implemented over the coming weeks.”
After the closure of Middle Street and part of Dereham Road in Watton, retailers say they are now faced with even more hurdles.
A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “The temporary road closures were recently established as part of wider programme to support market towns, and is there to enable the market to continue trading whilst social distancing rules are in place.
“We are reviewing the impact and speaking to local businesses, to make sure we apply the right balance of support.”
A spokesperson from South Norfolk Council said: “These are more restrictions than road closures with the idea being to divert through traffic in order to enable people to social distance and keep safe as they go about their business.
“Where temporary traffic restrictions have been put in place residents and businesses will still have the access they need to get to their properties and for deliveries.”
Where could restrictions be enforced?
Permissions for restrictions granted by Norfolk County Council:
Temporary one-way systems on Red Lion Street from its junction with White Hart Street to its junction with Penfold Street and Market Place from its junction with Red Lion Street.
Hamilton Road from its junction with A149 Prince of Wales Road and Garden Street from its junction with Church Street.
Market Place partially closed.
• Downham Market
All vehicles prohibited from waiting, stopping and loading/unloading on High Street from Priory Road and Bridge Street.
Vehicles on Norwich Street heading west from Whitehorse Street temporarily prohibited on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.
Parking prohibited on High Street, Horsey’s Lane for 115m School Lane for 20m north and the Lower Esplanade from 30m south of its junction with Pier Gardens for 150m.
Parking prohibited on Bull Street from its junction with Shirehall Plain for 40 metres, High Street from its junction with Shirehall Plain for 17 metres and Market Place.
All vehicles prohibited from waiting, stopping and loading/unloading on the eastern side of High Street.
• King’s Lynn
All vehicles prohibited from waiting, stopping and loading/unloading in Paradise Lane.
No parking on the southside carriageway of Station Road from its junction with Back Street for 50m.
• Redenhall with Harleston
The Thoroughfare from its junction with Exchange Street to its junction with Bullock Fair Close completely closed along with Swan Lane from its junction with Weavers Croft to its junction with The Thoroughfare.
Exchange Street from London Road to Old Market Place and Church Street from Broad Street to London Road will be closed.
One way system on Old Market Place from Exchange Street to Broad Street.
Parking bays between Church Street and Exchange Street off limits.
Middle Street closed.
Thetford Road closed for 50m.
Dereham Road closed from Harvey Street to High Street.
No parking on the main section of High Street.
Queen Street at its junction with Market Place subject to a no right turn restriction.